Thinking of Hiring In House for Marketing? Read This First...

Expanding your marketing staff "in-house" can be a smart move for your treatment center. A motivated team, executing a great strategy, is hard to beat.


With employees, the details can vary, but they're onboard for the mission, and you've got "moments-notice" access to them during work hours, which can give you flexibility.

But expanding the "in house" team also carries a risk...

...and we've seen some centers blow through six-figures of budget before figuring out a hire isn't working. (And still others who never figured it out.)

It turns out not all hires-are-created-equal...

  • Some roles are best-suited to your existing team.
  • Others probably require specialists (like us, for Facebook, and others for things like SEO), at least to get the ball rolling.
  • Still others, you should probably not be doing at all.

So how are you supposed to tell which-is-which? Not-to-worry - that's why we're here!

We've worked with a number of treatment centers, and helped business owners in multiple niches.

Below, a simple framework to determine whether you should be hiring in-house for a role, doing-it-yourself, or bringing in an expert.

Question One - Is This Already Working?

Last summer, Admit Scout had a well-dialed-in SOP ("standard operating procedure") for running PPC campaigns. It was working, it was getting results, and we could write it down.

So we decided to hire.

It's relatively easy to hire for PPC once you've got a solid process you know is working. We'd already done the "hard stuff", like positioning, messaging, and testing ads and landing pages. Plugging a subject-matter expert into that process was like adding fuel-to-the-fire.

Which brings us to the first crucial distinction of the hire-or-not-to-hire conundrum: are you scaling a process that's already a well-oiled machine?

If so, hire away.

A good example is a call center. Most centers are exceptionally good at determining whether a caller is a clinical fit, qualifying them, and offering them admission if they qualify. They know the right questions to ask.

They have a procedure that can be written-down and taught, provided the new employee is conscientious, and on-board with the center's mission.

Question Two - Is It "High Touch"?

If having a well-trod process into which you can plug a qualified employee makes hiring in-house a good idea, a role that requires constant back-and-forth, and "moment's notice" access during work hours can make it a necessity.

Here's what business coach and scale expert Tim Conley had to say about it:

We are in the process of hiring someone in-house to do our social media... The decision for in-house immediately is due to the high-touch, high-frequency nature of social media. We can’t wait days for creative to be delivered. We need to have an idea and get it to market ASAP.

Especially if you've got a marketing manager, hiring for an established marketing channel, let alone one in which you need "moment's notice" back-and-forths makes sense.

So when doesn't hiring in house make sense?

That's why...question 3;)

Question Three - Do You Need a New-Hire To "Save You"?

Some centers we've seen aren't just hiring to scale a process that's already working.

They're hoping for a hero. Like the center who posted this ad:

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That's a little strategy we like to call the "Hail Mary Hire".

What's the difference between a "Hail Mary Hire" and the situations I described above?

With a "Hail Mary Hire", centers haven't done the hard work to prove out a new marketing channel, or establish SOPs. They lack the expertise within the company, and they're hoping the new hire will supply it.

Ok, so why is that a problem?

It comes down to the price of expertise.

Bringing an expertise like Adwords Certification to bear on an already-proven process requires linear thinking. It's not nothing, but the top of the entry-level pay-scale for such jobs is around $40,000 per year.

Inventing a product-market-fit for your center from scratch is far more akin to starting a small business or launching a product. It's a form of entrepreneurship, which requires complex thinking. Which isn't cheap. (In-house, anyway.)

Which brings us to the inconvenient truth about marketing hires:

Gordon's not looking for a line-cook job

Gordon's not looking for a line-cook job

The best marketers - the ones who create new marketing channels from scratch - aren't looking for salaried marketing jobs.

Why? They know how to create cash-flows. Why would they cap their upside? Those who are willing to trade upside for a little job security are going to demand a premium. We're talking six-figures-plus at minimum for someone good.

Luckily, there's a more affordable solution: work with a specialist.

Question Four - Could We "Rent" This Skill Set?

Considering hiring an expert for a complex process you've never done in-house before, and don't want to pay six-figures for a mercenary?

Why not "rent" a skill set?

Here's Tim Conley again:

I’m counseling [one client] to hire an outsourced firm for a core service we are offering so that we can build our client base and then our in-house expertise.

We would have them handle the part of our marketing that they are experts in until our in-house team can be built.

If an in-house marketing expert will cost you dearly to take your center from zero-to-admits in a new channel, agencies like Admit Scout (and others - hey, this isn't supposed to be purely an advertisement for us;) are often able to execute the same process for pennies-on-the-dollar.


If a good employee is adept at executing hundreds of processes for a single treatment center, a good agency is good at executing one process for multiple clients.

That means efficiencies, and economies-of-scale. Unlike a "hired gun" VP of Marketing, they don't have to reinvent the wheel with each new client. Sure, each center is different, but good agencies get skilled at evaluating which potential clients are likely to benefit from their expertise, and making the necessary adjustments to personalize the campaigns, all without breaking-the-bank.

er doc.jpg

Think of an ER doctor. She's seen thousands of patients, all with similar issues. Sure, she's always learning. But she doesn't have to go back to medical school for each new patient.

What's more, creating a new marketing channel is like building an asset. Unlike a community manager or call-center-operator, it's not a role that requires constant contact:

Get the gist of the problem, interview you about what you're best at, and what your best clients are like, then go away and build until it's time to submit the creative for review.

There are excellent agencies with expertise in multiple marketing channels, and years of experience generating results transparently and ethically for the treatment niche.

Admit Scout specializes in paid social media. Other agencies specialize in SEO, relationship management, and traditional media.

Stop Looking For Rockstars On Roadie Salaries

Think of some of the marketing activities that are exceedingly important to your center:

  • Developing new relationships
  • Exploring new marketing channels, in which your center and its reputation will be on full-display
  • Managing up to six-figure budgets, and testing things to track what's really working and what's not

Those are activities appropriate for a partner, or high-level staff member...

...or, particularly for new marketing channels, a contractor with expertise in the channel.

But they're not activities I'd want to trust to a $40,000/year new-hire.